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Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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From the Publisher
Hi! I'm Ruby! Join me on my adventures with my friends.
What is this book all about?
An Introduction for Parents
The idea for Hello Ruby was born in 2009, when I myself was learning to program. Whenever I ran into a problem, I would ask myself how a small, fierce girl would tackle it. But it took until the fall of 2013 for me to decide to be a children’s book author. Since then, understanding technology through play and imagination and creation has become my passion.
We all have stories that shape the way we see the world as adults. Like invisible friends, our childhood stories stay with us and influence our tastes for years to come. I think we need more of these voices and stories that are able to reveal the playful side of code.
Play is at the core of learning. Coding is like crayons or LEGO blocks—a way to express yourself. This book is not about 'learning to code'. It doesn’t teach any specific programming languages, but introduces the fundamentals of computational thinking that every future kid coder will need.
Kids will learn how to break big problems into small problems, look for patterns, create step-by-step plans, and think outside the box. With activities included for every chapter, future kid coders will be thrilled to put their own imaginations to work.
Each chapter is a small story in Ruby’s world, nine small lessons in computational thinking.
This book is designed to be worked on together with a parent. You can start by reading the entire story, or focus on one chapter at a time. Each chapter has a set of exercises that build on the concepts of play and creativity. Spend time playing and replaying the exercises. It’s normal and okay to make mistakes and to look at the same problem in different ways. That’s all part of computational thinking.
Toolboxes give additional information for parents and list concepts that are linked to the topic discussed. All concepts can be found in the glossary. You can also find suggested answers in the answer key at helloruby.com. There, you’ll also find more play activities and fun things to do, and you can see what other kids have created all around the world!
From School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Bubbly redhead Ruby takes readers on a journey through an imaginary world replete with talking penguins, snow leopards, robots, and foxes who unwittingly teach her basic coding concepts. When Ruby's father travels out of town, he leaves her with a challenge: to find five gems. Armed with four scraps of paper, she uses her analytic skills to draw a map of the imaginary world where the gems are hidden, and children follow Ruby as she looks for them. The hunt for each gem involves a loose tie-in to a host of coding concepts, such as sequencing, patterns, loops, and pattern recognition. Notably, though, none of these terms are used in the actual text of the story; instead they are discussed at length in the post-story "Activity Book" section. Colorful and cheerful illustrations offer enticing Easter egg clues to observant readers throughout are in both the story and the "Activity Book." The visuals also serve to pick up the slack left by the somewhat didactic text. The "Activity Book" furthers the learning of conceptual coding ideas but requires patience and concentration that the intended audience may not yet possess. Kids will not necessarily walk away knowing how to write code but may possibly grasp some of the basic concepts. VERDICT This whimsical coding story could be a great resource for mathematical-minded youngsters but might soar over the heads of those less math-inclined.—Amy M. Laughlin, Darien Library, CT
“Writing software is about expression, creativity, and practical application. Our kids should learn to bend, join, break and combine code in a way it wasn't designed to. Just as they would with crayons and paper or wood and tools. I believe there's plenty to learn in programming logic and culture before showing children a single screen.” ―Linda Liukas author of Hello Ruby
“Hello Ruby is way more than a children's book.” ―Fast Company
“Getting girls into programming, one children's book at a time.” ―TechCrunch
"Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas is half picture book and half activity book rolled into one adorable package. What I love about it is that it introduces programming without requiring a computer at all. The point of the book isn’t to teach you a programming language, but programming concepts." --GeekMom.com
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The story is cute and simple with a pretty easy reading level (with some help a second grader could manage), however it jumps from something realistic into what I think is Ruby’s imagination. Ruby’s dad has hidden gems and left her some cryptic messages as clues to finding them. I was a little confused as to how Ruby managed to create a map for a world that I thought was supposed to be around her house, but ended up with a river and a forest. I stuck with it and the story eventually made more sense, it just required accepting that this was not our world. I’m not sure kids will be thrown by the leap into Ruby’s imagination since they are less familiar with genres and rules about worlds and stories. Some of the chapters were a little confusing unless you looked at and did the activities with them.
I did appreciate that the activities built on each other, getting more difficult as the book went on. One helps kids understand Booleans which I might have to use in the library when we talk about them.
Considering it needs a parent to go through it with the child (not a bad thing! I wish more parents of older kids were still reading and working with their kids), it’s probably not the kind of book that would be popular in my library. It should work for a public library or a home collection if coding is popular. What I think I might do is buy it to have in the makerspace I run.